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China on Equity vs. Efficiency

Should China slow down and focus more on Equality rather than Efficiency?

The Economist: News Article

As the gap between the rich and the poor increases substantially, China’s prime minister, Wen Jiabao, has ordered the new upcoming president, Xi Jinping, to “satisfy the people” by focusing more on the equality. Wen Jiabao has set a low target of 7.5% growth rate for Xi Jinping in order to slow down the overheated economy, lower the inflation rate, and focus more on dividing the economic pie equally for the people.

This old debate about whether an economy should focus on equality or efficiency is a ever-real problem for China as its economy is growing at double-digit growth rate, however, the gap between the rich and the poor has widen. This gap stirs the conflict between the people and the government as they get upset about the problem. There has been outburst of unrest in many parts of China in relation to the low income and the ever-increasing inflation rate.

Therefore, this political situation has forced the Chinese government to focus more on the equality. Otherwise, the government will soon lose the support from people and authority, which will result in the demise of the communist China.

I think that the Chinese officials are well aware of the trade-off of focusing more on equality. The economy will soon lose the efficiency once it had and the economic pie will shrink, instead of increasing. Surely the officials will be able to slice the pie more equally for the poor, however, this will act as a disincentive for the rich to work hard, which lead to the shrinkage of the economic size. In short term, the poor experience the prosperity from equality. However, in the long run, “The poor will get poorer and the rich will get less rich,” which is a quote by Margaret Thatcher.

This is a video of Magaret Thatcher commenting on socialist policies and how everyone will be hurt by focusing on equality.

China’s GDP per capita is only $8,394 according to the recent data from IMF (2011). Its GDP might be the second biggest in the world, however, there are too many people, which decreases the GDP per capita. UK’s GDP per capita was absolutely higher than China’s around 1990, and they were still arguing about equality verses efficiency. UK led by Margaret Thatcher focused more on efficiency. China will almost certainly decrease its economic pie if Xi Jinping focuses on equality. If I were at the decision-making position, I would certainly have focused more on efficiency. I would focus on equality later when the GDP per capita is high enough.

I understand that China has to satisfy and relieve complaints from their people to sustain political power. I am also aware that the government is focusing on slowing down the economy at an appropriate level. However, if the economy loses its economic momentum from socialist policies, the chance that China will become a developed country will decrease substantially.

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Democratic Republic of the Congo

The 10 Poorest Countries of the World: Hottez

Republic of the Congo is one of the very poor countries in the world. In fact, many people believe that this country might be the poorest country in the world. The blog Hottez has ranked the Congo as top number 1 in the most poorest country in the world.

The GDP per capita is $300 (2010 est.) and the GDP is $22.92 billion (2010 est.) which is the 119th in the world. Despite its large land (2,344,858 sq km) and large population (70,916,439) the GDP is quite small.

Population growth rate is 3.165% which is high. The data for unemployment rate is not available. It may be because that there are so many people in poverty and jobless. The life expectancy is only 54.73 years for the whole population.

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Analysis on OECD Country Korea

Data source: World Bank, World Development Indicators

1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005
$3.69b $3.02b $8.90b $21.5b $63.8b $96.6b $264b $517b $533b $845b

I have researched about Korea, one of OECD countries, on its GDP. The graph above is the ‘norminal’ GDP, which doesn’t take account for the inflation/deflation.

As you see, Korea had significant economic growth since 1975. Backed up by government’s economic reforms, Korea experienced an exponential economic growth. The chart above shows the norminal GDP since 1960 to 2005.

Korea has experienced near-bankruptcy in 1997 due to lack of foreign currencies. As you can see in the graph, the GDP plunged down from $517b to $345b. It was because they had virtually no foreign currencies (especially USD). Korean government could not pay off debts that accumulated during trades with foreign countries. They only had $2.0 billion, which was too short to pay the debt of $19.5 billion. It did have money to pay of its debt by Korean currency Won, but the lenders would not accept the weak, invaluable Korean currency at the time.

Nevertheless, the government had succeeded in paying off all the debt at 2001, and the economy recovered. This could be seen from the graph that the GDP had recovered to the previous GDP of 1995.

In 2007, Korea’s GDP hit $1.05 trillion due to increased exports. It was the year that Korea exported so much that it dramatically lifted up its GDP by significant degree. However, as 2008 global economic recession started, the GDP plunged to $929 billion due to decreased exports.

So, this was the short analysis of Korean GDP from 1960’s to 2008. Before 1960’s, the GDP of Korea was not recorded because the country’s economy was devastated by wars. So it GDP before 1960’s does not mean anything significant.

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
$13,300 $16,100 $19,400 $19,400 $17,800 $19,200 $22,600 $24,500 $25,000 $25,800

The GDP per capita of Korea has been increasing since 2000. It has almost been doubled compared to 2000 and 2009. This means that Korean people’s wealth have been double in 10 year time. In my opinion, this is rather astonishing. With increased GDP per capita, many companies would be shifting their markets to Korean domestic market because of doubled wealth of each person. The developed domestic market will solve many of Korean companies’ dilemma of too much dependency on foreign markets especially US market, which is the biggest market of the world.

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
10% 9% 5.8% 6.2% 3.1% 4.6% 4% 4.8% 5% 2.2%

GDP real growth rate for Korea has been declining. As you see in the graph, its showing the declining trend for Korea’s real growth rate. This low real growth rate is the concern for Korea right now, however, many experts consider this a temporary consequence of global recession.


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Intro to Macroeconomics

Today in the class, we have learned simple diagrams about the economic transactions between firms and households. As you see in the diagram, the households provide factors of production (FoP) to the firms. Firms gives wages or rent for the factors of production provided by the households. The firm then provides the service or good by using these factors of production to the households. The households in reture gives payment to the firms for the service or the good.

We have learned about several economic terms such as GDP. GDP means Gross Domestic Product and it is the Total Value of all Spending in an Economy. It is the Total Value of all final Goods and Services in an Economy regardless of who owns the productive assets.

Unlike GDP, GNP encounters for the total income earned by a nation’s factors of production regardless of where the assets are located. For example, lets say that there is one British businessperson doing business in Japan. His buisness is part of Japan’s GDP, but it is not part of Japan’s GNP. It is the part of UK’s GNP.

GDP per capita is GDP divided by population of that country. It is often used to show how much wealth each person has. However, there is one flaw with this index. If there is a huge disparity between the rich and the poor, like in United States, this value means less compared to when there is less disparity between rich and poor. According to Ms. Q in the class, only 1% of United State’s population owns 49% of financial wealth. So, GDP per capita is not always accurate.

GDP per capita is often used to evaluate one country’s standard of living, however, as it was stated, it is not always accurate. For example, there could be several trillionares and billions of poor in a country. As an alternative, many scholars use HDI to evalute standar of living of countries. It encounters for life expectancy, literacy rate, education, public health system, and etc. It looks at the different point of view compared to GDP per capita. According to the lecture today, Cuba has less thant 5000$ per capita, however, it has almost 100% literacy rate, which shows that it has high standard of living.

Extra Info: GDP can vary according to the country’s currency exchange rate to USD. As GDP is in US dollar, other foreign countries have to convert their currency to USD. For example, if the exchange rate goes down (value: Foreign currency<USD) the total GDP of the nation decreases. On contrary, if the exchange rate goes up, the total GDP of the nation increases dramatically. So this is one drawback to GDP.

There is an economic index called PPP that covers up the problem of GDP. “Purchasing power parity exchange rate is the exchange rate based on the purchasing power parity (PPP) of a currency relative to a selected standard (usually the United States dollar)” ( So it gets rid of the exchange rate drawback of GDP and gives more reliable data. However, there is one problem with this also. It is very difficult to measure the differences in quality of goods.

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Human Development Index

Human Development Index is an alternative statistical data to GDP for indicating human development in each country.

It looks at 3 big categories: 1) long, healthy life, 2) knowledge, and 3) a decent standard of living. Specifically, they look at life expectancy, literacy rate, education, and GDP per capita.

I have researched China about its HDI. It ranked 94th country, and its HDI was 0.762 (out of 1). From this data, I have realized that even though China has the GDP of ranking top 3 in the world and economic growth rate of 9% every year, they were irrelevant. GDP and economic growth were not quite related to human development of countries.

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